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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Purchased at a home improvement store, paid about $35 for a spruce project panel.

Took it home, put it in garage a few days then went to start project. Cut my 2 pieces and rounded the edges.
Sanded it smooth then measured/marked where I plan to use router to cut rectangle openings for basket handles to poke through. The next day they were curved/cupped/bowed; both pieces that I had laid flat. The remaining piece up on edge was fine. I Googled what to do.

Have spent the last week laying the pieces flat in the house with a damp rag in the center to increase the moisture content, next day it was curved in the OPPOSITE direction and so the damp rag, flip/flop has continued. I finally had them both straight/flat and stood them up against the wall but they were slightly curved this afternoon. Not as bad but not flat either.

I will devote whatever time I need to this weekend to get them straight one at a time and then what do I do? Stain it right away? Pretty sure I want 2 coats of stain and at least 3 of clear polyuretane as they will be tabletops for LR that gets a lot of use and I don't want them to keep bowing.

Appreciate any help, I normally don't use project panels but the cost of a full sheet was beyond my daughter's budget and this should have worked fine. Thanks, KathyH
 

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How big are the panels? The bigger a panels the more prone it is to warp. Also if the panels were made from wide boards that makes it more prone to warp, When a wide panel is made it's best to use strips of wood no more than 3" wide. At this point about all you can do is wet the concave side like you have been doing and also try to dry the crown side. Sitting the wood in the sun with the crown side up would help or if you could set it somewhere with an electric space heater on that side. When you do get the wood flat you need to get some kind of finish on both sides to stabilize it. In the end though some wood is just going to warp no matter what you do. Treating it is only good when something in the environment or improper use has caused it to get moisture to one side and not the other. Often people will work on such a panel and leave it laying flat on their work bench overnight where air can't get to the other side and it causes it to warp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Steve,

24"x 48", made up of 2" wide boards glued together, it is 3/4" thick.
I cut 2 pieces, 18" x 22 1/2" and there is a piece left over.
So, once I get it flat I need to get some kind of finish on it?
Is stain going to be enough? Will it "seal" the wood" or will the clear poly top coat seal it?

I'm more of a paint it type person but my daughter wants it stained to match the rest of the LR as close as I can.


Thanks, KathyH
 

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Did you lay the panel on a table?

Need to keep air balance equal or the moisture balance will be unequal. Doesn’t take much.

I would clamp it up in cauls and see if it will re-acclimate back to what it was.

Keep it inside the house, not garage might also be a good idea.

Will a free floating panel stay flat? Maybe, maybe not. Welcome to woodworking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
So far my luck with "project panels" is 0 out of 0-10. I mostly purchase full sheets of plywood or even MDF for inside projects and paint them when done. This spruce panel was more affordable but NOT in terms of my time and patience lol.

Yes, I originally left them flat in the garage after cutting. When I realized what happened,brought the two pieces I needed into the house to research how to get them flat again. I finally got them flat and even though I propped them on edge against the wall, the next morning both had bowed slightly in the center again. Every day this happens whether in the house or garage and even if they are placed on end vs laying flat. The longer I leave them in either position the worse it gets. Now today they are both flat again and I was able to router the areas needed.

One is now on edge in the garage and the other on edge in the house.
In the morning I hope to start staining if either or both are flat. Once the stain is on will that seal the wood or can I expect to have to continue the wetting/drying process until I apply the clear poly?
Thanks
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KathyH
 

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Steve,

24"x 48", made up of 2" wide boards glued together, it is 3/4" thick.
I cut 2 pieces, 18" x 22 1/2" and there is a piece left over.
So, once I get it flat I need to get some kind of finish on it?
Is stain going to be enough? Will it "seal" the wood" or will the clear poly top coat seal it?

I'm more of a paint it type person but my daughter wants it stained to match the rest of the LR as close as I can.


Thanks, KathyH
Paint or stain either one would work but it would need some kind of coating on both sides. Stain alone doesn't seal the wood. Since you seem to be having moisture content issues I wouldn't use any kind of water based finish. Sealing both sides is the best chance you have in stabilizing the panels.
 
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